Two of the most successful specialty films of the year expand this weekend and a handful of others jump into an arthouse market that’s seen few new entrants in recent weeks as wide release piled on wide release.
Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City jumps from a blockbuster six-theater opening ($800k over three days) last weekend for Focus Features to 1,675 locations today. A24’s Past Lives by Celine Song, which debuted in early June on four screens, expands to 296. They’re joined by a documentary on epic cyclist Greg LeMond ahead of the Tour De France, and the first theatrical release by Wayward Entertainment, launched in late 2021 by former Revolution Studios CEO Vince Totino and former Orion Pictures President John Hegeman and focusing on genre titles.
Wayward is opening God Is A Bullet, directed and written by Nick Cassavetes, on 375 screens. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars as a detective whose ex-wife is murdered and daughter kidnapped by an insidious cult. He takes matters into his own hands, infiltrating the secretive organization with the help of an escaped cult victim (Maika Monroe). With Jamie Foxx and Karl Glusman.
The film is counter-programming, playing just the two late shows at theaters, Hegeman tells Deadline, which helped it attract dates from exhibitors with busy screens. Not insisting on a full complement of shows for the edgy, R-rated revenge thriller likely doubled its theatrical footprint. Independent distributors and theaters have had to get creative post-Covid to attract audiences to smaller films beyond big-ticket studio franchises.
Roadside Attractions opens Alex Homes-directed documentary The Last Rider on 105 screens. The story of Greg LeMond, the first and only American to win the Tour de France, one of the greatest cyclists of all time, and with a triumphant comeback story. LeMond, on death’s door after a hunting accident, emerged to beat famed rivals in the historic and nail-biting race at the 1989 Tour de France. The film, which premiered at Telluride, features exclusive interviews with LeMond and his wife Kathy, and never-before-seen footage. Its title is a reference to LeMond’s competing in an era before doping scandals grabbed cycling headlines. The release is timed partly in relation to this year’s Tour de France, which starts July 1. Roadside marketed heavily to the biking community. LeMond hosted a screening this week at the Regal Pinnacle in Knoxville, where he lives.
Music Box Films presents Alice Winocour’s Revoir Paris (Paris Memories) at the IFC Center and Film and Lincoln Center in New York, expanding to LA’s Laemmle Royal next week. Premiered in Cannes last year, see Deadline review. Starring Virginie Efira and Benoit Magimel. Three months after surviving a terrorist attack in a bistro, Mia is still traumatized and unable to recall the events of that night. In an effort to move forward, she investigates her memories and retraces her steps.
Alternative engagement: From Trafalagar,Grateful Dead Meet-Up At The Movies 2023 plays June 24 (after a June 22 engagement) in 478 U.S. theaters (572 worldwide). A year after Brent Mydland’s passing, the Grateful Dead returned to the summer stadium circuit, playing Chicago’s Soldier Field for the first time with two keyboard players filling the seat Brent left vacant. Bruce Hornsby and Vince Welnick’s presence and musical contributions reinvigorated and revitalized the Grateful Dead at what is often considered one of the greatest shows of the Bruce-Vince era
Other openings, limited release: Momentum Pictures presents mockumentary Maximum Truth by David Stassen, written by Stassen and Ike Barinholtz. A documentary crew follows political grifter Rick Klingman as he teams up with his sketchy buddy Simon to take down a rival congressional candidate.
Nancy Buirski’s Desperate Souls, Dark City And The Legend Of Midnight Cowboy opens in NY (Film Forum) and LA (Laemmle Town Center, Laemmle Royal), from Zeitgeist/Kino Lorber Premiered at Venice and Telluride. See Deadline review. Documentary about “the deeply gifted and flawed people behind a dark and difficult masterpiece; New York City in a troubled time of cultural ferment; and the era that made a movie and the movie that made an era.”
Greenwich Entertainment presents Here. Is. Better., director Jack Youngelson’s documentary about the rising mental health crisis in America though its examination of veterans’ experiences with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).TK Features the prominent politician, veteran and podcast host (Majority 54) Jason Kander, sharing his journey through treatment for the first time. At three theaters in NY, LA, Chicago.
Indican Pictures is showing Kings of L.A. at Laemmles in Santa Clarita and Noho. A young man at a critical point in his life struggles to navigate through socioeconomic ills and temptations of his South Central community as the demographics and culture shifts around him. Written and directed by Van Elder. Starring Paula Jai Parker, Michael Pare, Alimi Ballard.
Wise Lars presents Loren & Rose with Jacqueline Bisset and Kelly Blatz as an iconic actress and a promising filmmaker who form a bond over a series of lunches at an otherworldly restaurant. Written and directed by Russell Brown.
Buffalo 8 is presenting Love Gets A Room by Rodrigo Cortés at six theaters including Laemmle Royal, Laemmle Town Center. With Clara Rugaard, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Mark Ryder.
Netflix is opening animated Nimona adapted from ND Stevenson’s cult graphic novel at The Paris and IFC Center in NYC, the Bay in LA and a few locations. With Chloe Grace Moretz, Eugene Lee Yang, Riz Ahmed. World premiered at the Annecy International Film Festival.
China Lion Film Distribution presents The Procurator by Alan Mak, with Baihe Bai, Johnny Huang, Likun Wang. A murder mystery surrounding the death of an unethical and dangerous businessman.